Male, born 1921, died 2000-04-25

Associated with the firm network

Zion and Breen Associates

Professional History


Landscape Architect, I.M. Pei, Architect, New York, NY, c. 1953-1957; Partner, Zion and Breen Associates, New York, NY, 1957-1973; Partner, Zion and Breen Associates, Imlaystown, NJ, 1973-1980s; Partner, Zion Breen Richardson Associates, Imlaystown, NJ, 1980s- .

Professional Service

Member, New York City Arts Commission, New York, NY; Vice President, Architectural League of New York, New York, NY.

Zion authored Trees for Architecture and Landscape, (New York: Reinhold Publishing Company, 1968). This book proved popular, having new editions published in 1979 and 1995.

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA).



Coursework, Hamilton College, Hamilton, NY, c. 1940. B.A., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1943. M.B.A., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1946; Master's of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, 1951.

College Awards

Recipient, Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.



Robert L. Zion was born in Lawrence, NY, on Long Island in 1921. He attended Hamilton College in Hamilton, NY, before transferring to Harvard University from which he graduated with a B.A. in 1943. Zion served in the US Army in Europe during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944-1945. After the war, he returned to Harvard, where he earned two graduate degrees, one in business (1946) and the other in landscape architecture (1951). Following his second Master's degree, he won an Eliot Traveling Scholarship that enabled him to tour North Africa and Europe. He began his professional career in the architectural office of I.M. Pei in New York, NY, c. 1953, and worked here for about four years. In 1957, he started his own landscape architecture firm with Harvard classmate, Harold Breen, in New York. Zion and Breen Associates attracted some high-profile commissions in New York, including the design for the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art (1963) and a celebrated plan for Samuel Paley Plaza (1967), the first and most influential "vest-pocket park" in the city. (Paley Park replaced the Stork Club, a popular, elite nightspot that operated between 1929 to 1965.) Zion Breen and Associates operated from a headquarters in New York City between 1957 and 1973, developing an international clientele.

Zion moved to the undeveloped Imlaystown area in 1964, and subsequently purchased a grist mill (later to be converted to the Zion Breen Office), the Hope Baptist Church, and his residence, the 200-acre Black Pine Nursery. Zion and Breen agreed in 1973 to move the corporate office from New York to Imlaystown, to be closer to Zion's rural home. All employees agreed to follow the company to NJ, impressed by the rural scenery.

Zion died in a traffic accident, when a Monmouth County public works truck struck broadside the Oldsmobile van he drove. Apparently, Zion failed to stop at a stop sign and was killed at the scene. He was 79.


Zion married but divorced.

Associated Locations

PCAD id: 653